Trump is following the playbook of other antidemocratic strongmen— here’s how to stop him

BERLIN (Project Syndicate)—With November approaching, I am becoming ever more nervous about the U.S. presidential election. While my American friends focus on Joe Biden’s lead over President Donald Trump in opinion polls, believing deeply in U.S. democracy’s capacity for self-renewal, my own perspective as a British citizen and think-tank director has me worried.

As a Briton, I can remember watching a 20-point polling lead for “Remain” become a victory for “Leave” in the Brexit referendum four years ago. And as a think-tank director, I work closely with scholars who study how authoritarian leaders manipulate democratic systems to stay in power, as has happened in Turkey, Russia, Hungary, and Poland.

Like other authoritarian leaders, Trump is deploying a new antidemocratic politics that has yet to be fully comprehended.

In fact, it often seems as though Trump has studied the tactics pioneered by other aspiring strongmen more closely than anyone. Based on recent conversations with experts on each of these countries, I have compiled the following catalogue of dirty tricks that Trump seems to borrowing.

Weaponization of history

The first is the weaponization of history. Populist leaders promote their political platforms through polarization and social division. They do not mind alienating and insulting some voters if doing so will energize their own base. By posturing as the champions of national greatness, they want to determine who counts as authentic citizens and who does not. This practice inevitably brings history to the fore.

Whether it is Russian President Vladimir Putin invoking the Soviet victory in World War II, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan harking back to the Ottoman Empire, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán fixating on the Treaty of Trianon, or British Prime Minister Boris Johnson looking back to Pax Britannica, each leader has advanced a highly partisan historical narrative.

Post-truth politics

Another, related approach is what might be called post-truth politics. These leaders prefer direct communication with voters through professional propaganda videos and social media, because this allows them to dismiss inconvenient facts offered by experts.

In this media ecosystem, fact-checking has little purchase, because the people who need to hear it are not listening, or refuse to believe anything the “liberal” media says. In many democracies, fake news is now most common at the local level, where political operatives have filled the vacuum left by the decline of traditional city and regional outlets.

Run against the Deep State

A third tactic is to run against one’s own government. The term “deep state” is said to have originated in Turkey in the 1990s, but now features prominently in the lexicon for Trump, Orbán, Erdoğan, Johnson, and Poland’s de facto ruler, Jarosław Kaczyński. By blaming nameless shadowy, faceless characters behind the curtain and shadowy cabals, all these leaders have a ready excuse for all of their own failures.

It often seems as though Trump has studied the tactics pioneered by other aspiring strongmen more closely than anyone.

A fourth element in the playbook is voter suppression. Like Erdoğan’s constant attempts to disempower Kurdish voters, Trump and the Republican Party are desperate to disenfranchise African-Americans. For an incumbent would-be strongman, the need to tip the electoral scales opens the door to all kinds of attacks on democratic processes.

Hence, before Poland’s general election in May, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party tried to limit all voting to mail-in ballots, effectively transferring control of the election from the independent National Electoral Commission to the PiS-controlled postal service. Though this plan ultimately ran into resistance, it showed that there are countless ways for authoritarians to meddle in or subvert the process.

Not surprisingly, mail-in voting and the politicization of the U.S. Postal Service have become major issues in the election, too.

Dirty tricks

Another related device is “political technology,” a term for the dirty tricks commonly associated with post-Soviet politics. Such methods include Russia’s covert backing of third-party candidates like Jill Stein in the 2016 U.S. presidential election; Kompromat, or compromising material (epitomized by the search for dirt on Biden in Ukraine); and simply declaring victory before the votes are counted.

In the case of the United States, if Trump declares victory before all postal mail-in ballots have arrived, Republican-controlled legislatures in key states could end the counting early to lock in that outcome.

An incumbent authoritarian can also engage in various forms of “lawfare,” using law enforcement or compliant courts to facilitate gerrymandering, voter suppression, coverups, and other violations of the democratic process.

Here, one of the biggest advantages is the ability to control the timing of events or the release of politically damaging information.

Many people still believe that then-FBI Director James Comey’s announcement of a new probe into Hillary Clinton just days before the 2016 election tipped the outcome in Trump’s favor. Now, the Department of Justice is run by Attorney General William Barr, a man who has shown no compunction about politicizing independent law-enforcement agencies on Trump’s behalf.

Law and order

Another common authoritarian tactic is to play the “law-and-order” card. By tarring the Black Lives Matter protests as an outpouring of violent “urban” hooliganism, Trump is reprising the racial politics used by former Republican presidents since Richard Nixon, but by Erdoğan more recently, during the Gezi Park protests in 2013.

The problem for the Democrats in the U.S., and democrats everywhere, is that all these techniques tend to become more effective the more they are called out.

Fact-checking fake news can inadvertently spread misinformation more widely. Warnings about voter suppression can become self-fulfilling prophecies if enough people conclude that the process is rigged and not worth participating in. Challenging violations through the courts creates the impression of an end run around democracy.

To avoid these effects, the project of corrupting democracy needs to be clearly identified, named, and analyzed through a new lens.

There is a world of difference between the political subterfuge outlined above and the outright falsification of election results, as happened last month in in Belarus. Nicu Popescu, a former Moldovan foreign minister who is now at the European Council on Foreign Relations, contends that autocracy is not the right term to describe the phenomenon. Rather, “it is the “degradation, corrosion, and deconsolidation of democracy.”

In any case, if Trump were Moldova’s president, one assumes that the European Union would be calling him out for his dirty tricks. Any such criticism from abroad would almost certainly be counterproductive. But it may help to put the current American experience in a wider context, so that democratic forces can see Trump more clearly.

Ultimately, the only way to defeat Trump is through politics. The task for the Democrats is to remind Americans what democracy is for—and, one hopes, to counter Trump’s tactics effectively.

Mark Leonard is director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

This article was published with permission of Project SyndicateTrump’s Dirty Tricks.

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Here’s why the stock market tumbled last week and what’s ahead for Wall Street

A bout of volatility returned to financial markets with a vengeance last week, disrupting a nearly uninterrupted climb to records for U.S. stock indexes and raising questions about the path for Wall Street headed into a hornet’s nest of challenges for investors.

Perhaps, the overarching question is, “What the heck just happened to equity markets in the 48 hours after the S&P 500 index

and Nasdaq Composite Index

on Wednesday notched their 22nd and 43rd closing records of 2020 respectively, and the Dow

scored its first finish above 29,000 since February, bringing it within 2% of its Feb. 12 all-time closing high?”

The bull perspective

From the bull’s perspective, not a lot has changed.

Bullish investors see the promise of lower interest rates for years to come and further injections of money by the Federal Reserve into various parts of the financial system, along with perhaps another fiscal stimulus from the government, as buttressing the market and offering a floor against future dramatic losses.

Optimists see the slump that the equity market experienced this week as a bump in the road to greater gains.

“Since the current bull market kicked off in March, there have only been two pullbacks of more than 5%. Recent bull markets have tended to have three or four setbacks over the first nine months,” wrote SunTrust Advisory chief market strategist Keith Lerner in a research note on Thursday — see chart:

Lerner also notes that the five-month winning streak for the S&P 500 since August, which has only occurred 27 times since 1950, is a good sign because it tends to imply that further returns are ahead.

So, investors may view this retreat as a natural corrective phase that removes some of the euphoric froth from equity valuations that had far exceeded the metrics that pragmatic investors use to assess an asset’s value compared against its peers.

MarketWatch’s William Watts wrote last Thursday, citing Dan Suzuki, deputy chief investment officer at Richard Bernstein Advisors, that technology stocks — particularly, a cohort that includes Facebook

and Google parent Alphabet


(or FANMAG) — had seen their valuations rise by dint of multiple expansion, or rapidly rising prices, while other segments of the market had seen earnings estimates fall out of whack with their prices, distorting the “P” portion of the commonly used priced-to-earnings metric, or P/E, used to gauge a stock’s worth.

“But these two groups of stocks have gotten more expensive for completely different reasons,” he noted. “FANMAG’s P/E has risen because their ‘P’ (prices) has gone up faster than their ‘E’ (earnings), while the P/E for the rest of the S&P 500 has expanded because ‘E’ has gone down much more than ‘P’,” wrote Suzuki.

Indeed during the period between the market’s March lows and early last week, investors have maintained a voracious appetite for technology-related stocks, and a group known as “stay-at-home companies”, including Zoom Video Communications Inc.
due to the belief that not only are they receiving a boost from the COVID-19 pandemic but also that they are best positioned to benefit when the economy eventually emerges from the recession.

A bounce off Friday’s lows, aided by moves into financials also was viewed as constructive for the broader market, heading into the three-day Labor Day weekend.

“The move higher was mostly led by financials, which came as a result of slightly higher rates rate on the long end of the curve, notably the 10 basis point move in the 10-year Treasury,” wrote Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network, via email.

Yields in the 10-year Treasury

benchmark bond rose to 0.72%, marking the biggest single-day rise on Friday since May 18.

It’s unusual for yields to climb as stocks are falling as they did on Friday because investors usually turn to the perceived safety of government debt, driving prices higher and yields lower, in times of uncertainty. That didn’t occur on Friday and may be interpreted by some as signaling that at least fixed-income investors see the move in stocks as indicative of a temporary pullback rather than a more significant and lasting decline.

UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief Investment Officer Mark Haefele said that he viewed this week’s market drop as investors consolidating gains. “We view the latest selloff as a bout of profit-taking after a strong run,” he wrote.

“The S&P 500 enjoyed its strongest August in 34 years, gaining 7%, and added a further 2.3% in the first two days of September, to reach a fresh record high,” he wrote. “Stocks are still well-supported by a combination of Fed liquidity, attractive equity risk premiums, and a continuing recovery as economies reopen from the lockdowns.”

The bear’s perspective

From a bearish vantage point, the outlook for stocks looks more uncertain for investors. This uncertainty may have well laid the groundwork for substantial episodes of turbulence if not gut-wrenching drops in stocks, some experts say.

“The mini-tech selloff on Thursday has left a lot of scarring; it is not overly surprising that in New York equities trading, things were relatively muted into a long weekend,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, in a Friday research note.

September is a notoriously weak month for investors, and even if that weakness is somewhat moderated in an election year, October also has the hallmarks of a rough patch for Wall Street, with the Nov. 3 presidential election looming.

Chris Senyek, chief investment strategist at Wolfe Research, said the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 headed into the fall and winter also is cause to lighten up on stocks.

“Our sense is that a similar resurgence in infection rates is likely to occur in the United States this fall as children and college students returns to school and flu season begins,” analysts at Wolfe Research wrote on Friday.

Michael Kramer, founder of Mott Capital Markets, in a blog on Friday described the recent swings in the market as “insane” and said that it is difficult to gauge what’s ahead for the market, but he notes that an explosion in volumes related to the selloff could signal a change in the uptrend for stocks.

He noted that for the first time since April 3, the S&P 500 closed below its uptrend. “This is typically not something we want to see; it would indicate that momentum is likely shifting,” he wrote (see attached chart).

Of Friday’s paring of losses into the close, Kramer said: “The rally into the close was impressive, but it could have just as easily been on the heels of short-covering as it was on real buying.”

Part of the downturn occurred as two popular companies saw their shares drop after stock splits: Apple

and Tesla

Tesla has been among the highest of highfliers in recent months and viewed by some as a gauge of sentiment in the overall market. Its recent retreat is something bearish investors have pointed to as a signal of weakness in the market.

On top of that, Tesla wasn’t announced as a new entrant into the S&P 500 index late Friday, which may cast a pall over the stock that has lost about 20% from its peak.

The road ahead

Looking ahead, investors turn next to the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 15-16 policy meeting, which could be important in clarifying the length of the time interest rates could be held lower but also what, if any, new quantitative easing the central bank will implement.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell in an interview with National Public Radio conducted Friday afternoon said that the 1.4 million jobs added to the labor market in August and an unemployment rate falling to 8.4% from 10.2% as a good sign of progress in the economy.

But he did emphasize that progress is going to be slow: “We do think it will get harder from here,” Powell said.

Doubts that the government will soon provide a fresh round of fiscal stimulus for out-of-work Americans has put some pressure on the Fed to do more to dull the impact on the economy from disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The Fed’s role may be the most important feature of whether the stock market is able to continue to make progress higher. As it stands now, there are few alternatives to stocks, with long-dated government bonds yielding around 1% or less.

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Think twice before wearing a face shield to protect against COVID-19 instead of a cloth face mask — here’s why

Face shields are probably OK to wear to protect against COVID-19, right? Wrong.

That’s according to the latest experiment on the subject showing how respiratory droplets that could carry the virus spread while people wore a face shield and a face mask with exhale valves compared to how droplets spread from a traditional mask. College and high-school students and children in elementary schools are returning to classes — sometimes wearing face shields with a cloth mask, and sometimes without one.

In California, for instance, the Orange County Health Care Agency, the Orange County Department of Education and school districts across that county, have developed a guide to returning to school. It says face coverings are required for third-graders through high school-level students, and “strongly encouraged” for children between two years old and second grade. “A face shield is an acceptable alternative for children in this cohort who cannot wear them properly,” the guide states.

‘No burden of 100% efficacy should be placed on face shields or any containment policy because this level of control is both impossible to achieve.’

— A commentary published by JAMA Network, an open-access medical journal published by the American Medical Association

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., among some other colleges, says it’s comfortable allowing faculty members inside classrooms to wear a face shield without a mask. But research suggests that may not be enough to prevent a teacher from spreading coronavirus, especially if he/she is asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. (Vanderbilt did not return request for comment.)

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, it may be preferable to use high-quality cloth or surgical masks that are of a plain design instead of face shields and masks equipped with exhale valves, according to an experiment published Wednesday by Physics of Fluids, a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering fluid dynamics.

The journal, which was first established by the American Institute of Physics in 1958, published the study, “Visualizing droplet dispersal for face shields and masks with exhalation valves,” to illustrate how shield or mask with a valve affected the movement of droplets compared to wearing a face mask without valves. Their conclusion: It may be preferable to use high-quality cloth or surgical masks with plain design without valves.

That’s in line with what the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said: it recommends against using masks with valves or vents, because they can “allow virus particles to escape.” The CDC also recommends against using N95 respirators or surgical masks intended for healthcare workers.

“We focused on the smaller droplets, since they can stay suspended for very long times and might contain enough virus particles to transmit COVID-19,” said Siddhartha Verma, one of the paper’s authors and an assistant professor at the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. “Even the very best masks have some degree of leakage.”

Watch the video here.

In the experiment, face shields blocked the initial forward motion of a simulated jet of a cough or a sneeze, but the expelled droplets moved around the visor with relative ease and spread out over a large area, the experiment concluded. The experiment also suggested that droplets can pass through a mask’s exhale valve unfiltered, “which significantly reduces its effectiveness as a means of source control.”

This experiment published by Physics of Fluids, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, looks at droplet spread from face shields and face masks with exhale valves, and compares them to those of traditional cloth face masks. (Image courtesy of: Siddhartha Verma, Manhar Dhanak and John Frankenfield)

“As students return to schools and universities, some have wondered if it is better to use face shields, as they are more comfortable and easier to wear for longer periods of time,” said Verma. “But what if these shields are not as effective? You would be essentially putting everyone in a tight space with droplets accumulating over time, which could potentially lead to infections.”

Other universities won’t let students on campus without a mask and shield. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend face shields as a substitute for masks: “It is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields.”

The CDC has reminded people to distinguish between masks, and surgical masks. “Currently, those are critical supplies that should continue to be reserved for health-care workers and other medical first responders,” it says. “Masks also are not appropriate substitutes for them in workplaces where surgical masks or respirators are recommended or required and available.”

‘What if these shields are not as effective? You would be essentially putting everyone in a tight space with droplets accumulating over time.’

— Siddhartha Verma, assistant professor at the Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering at Florida Atlantic University

While face shields and masks with valves may be more comfortable than cloth masks, the CDC calls for wearing a mask that covers both your nose and your mouth, with the mask secured under your chin. It should fit snugly against your face. There should not be large openings or gaps around your nose, mouth and the sides of your face. Do not touch the mask while wearing it.

Some educational institutions are circumspect on the use of face shields. Loma Linda University, a Seventh-day Adventist health-sciences university in California, advises the wearing of face masks as the No. 1 protection against COVID-19. “Prolonged exposure reduces the amount of protection of the shield,” according to this advice from the university’s health and wellness team.

Vanderbilt University’s Public Health Advisory Task Force, in a statement on the college’s website, cited a “preliminary study” as offering sufficient evidence for the efficacy of face shields “in the way Vanderbilt intends to use them, which is coupled with other protective measures (social distancing, less density with classrooms, students wearing face masks/coverings, etc.).”

However, that preliminary study is actually “viewpoint” commentary on face shields that cites other pieces of research on face shields and the influenza virus, which is obviously different from coronaviruses. Nor does the commentary in question published by the JAMA Network offer up enough scientific evidence to show face shields are adequate.

In fact, the “viewpoint” concludes: “It is unlikely that a randomized trial of face shields could be completed in time to verify efficacy. No burden of 100% efficacy should be placed on face shields or any containment policy because this level of control is both impossible to achieve and unnecessary to drive SARS-CoV-2 infection levels into a manageable range.”

As of Friday, COVID-19 had infected 26,383,872 people worldwide, which mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, and killed 870,477. The U.S. still has the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases (6,164,267), followed by Brazil (4,041,638), India (3,936,747) and Russia (1,011,987), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

In the meantime, cases keep rising in the U.S. with California becoming the first state in the country to surpass 700,000 confirmed cases; infections hit 726,018 there as of Friday with 13,493 COVID-related deaths. New York has recorded 437,107 infections and the highest number of deaths in the U.S. (32,976). COVID has killed 186,984 people in the U.S.


, in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE

and partner Pfizer

; GlaxoSmithKline

; Johnson & Johnson

; Merck & Co.

; Moderna

; and Sanofi

are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index
the S&P 500

and the Nasdaq Composite

were lower Friday. Doubts about traction for further fiscal stimulus from Washington may be one factor discouraging investors who have been betting on Republicans and Democrats striking a deal to offer additional relief to consumers and businesses.

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Sweden adopted a controversial approach to tackling the coronavirus. Here’s how it plans to save Christmas

Sweden’s strategy to tackle the pandemic is singular: avoid lockdowns to keep the economy going and encourage herd immunity from the virus.

Pontus Lundahl/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

If Anders Tegnell is right, with a bit of holiday magic Swedes may be able to swap strict social distancing for a slightly more normal Christmas with family and friends this year.

Sweden’s state epidemiologist told SVT, the state broadcaster, that the country may soon be ready to ease the isolation of the elderly in time for the winter holiday season as the country hopes the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

If Sweden loosens its public health recommendations for the elderly, who are at high risk for the coronavirus, it would signal another distinctive move from a country with a controversial approach to the pandemic.

As coronavirus cases continue to climb in the United States by tens of thousands per day, and public debate rages over what, if any, restrictions should be imposed, all eyes are on how Sweden fares. Can this snowy Nordic country save Christmas for its citizens?

Read this: Sweden didn’t impose a lockdown, but its economy is just as bad as its neighbors

The strict social distancing recommendations for people over 70 are currently being investigated, Tegnell said, but as long as the trend remains positive in Sweden, families and friends should be able to get together at Christmas as long as they think it through properly and keep some distance.

The epidemiologist said that the existing recommendations would remain in place for the elderly and very ill in nursing homes. 

Also: Sweden embraced herd immunity, while the U.K. abandoned the idea — so why do they both have high COVID-19 fatality rates?

Sweden’s strategy to tackle the pandemic is singular: avoid lockdowns to keep the economy going and encourage herd immunity from the virus. Herd immunity is achieved when enough of the population has been infected by the virus that collective immunity prevents further spread. 

Tegnell has also rejected the need for people to wear face masks to prevent the spread of the virus, against the advice of the World Health Organization.

Watch: School returns in Wuhan

Nearly 1.4 million students returned to class in Wuhan, China, this week. WSJ’s Jonathan Cheng explains how schools reopened in the city where the coronavirus first emerged and what’s at stake for Beijing if they have to close again. Photo: Aly Song/Reuters

The coronavirus infection rate in Sweden dropped below 1,000 cases per day in late June and has remained at about 150 cases per day this week.

Sweden’s approach is controversial because many people have already died and it remains to be seen how effective striving for herd immunity is in the long-run.

Read more: Sweden is developing herd immunity, some of the country’s experts claim, but the figures say otherwise

As it stands, 5,832 people have died from the virus in Sweden, which has a population of over 10.2 million people. This compares with its Scandinavian neighbours, Denmark and Norway, which both have a population of about half of Sweden’s and a combined 890 deaths between them.

Sweden has a coronavirus death rate of 57.15 per 100,000, which is the tenth highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Denmark and Norway have a death rate of 10.80 and 4.97 per 100,000, respectively.

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Here’s what could trigger more stock market pullbacks this year, says Schwab trading pro

A record-setting August for stocks has set the bar high, and September looks off to a promising start, at least for technology stocks, with electric-car maker Tesla

poised for more big gains.

That brings us to our call of the day from Schwab Center for Financial Research’s vice president of trading and derivatives, Randy Frederick, who thinks the stock market may finally deliver on some much-needed corrections.

“Obviously these things are difficult to pinpoint, but a 2%-3% decline sometime in the next couple of weeks wouldn’t be at all surprising to me. I continue to believe that the SPX

[S&P 500] can reach 3,700 (+14.5%) by year-end, but probably not without three or four small pullbacks along the way,” he told MarketWatch in an interview and follow-up email.

“We haven’t had anything of that nature at all since going all the way back to early June, when we had that big drop-off. We’re clearly way overdue on that,” Frederick said. And while 3,700 sounds “pretty remarkable from a bottom-of-the-virus return,” on a year-to-date basis that 14% gain for the S&P 500 is fairly average, he noted.

When those smallish pullbacks come along, though, he advises against panic (he urged no panic in early March too), saying “they will be and should be used as buying opportunities.” That is because there is nowhere else for investors to put their money as any Federal Reserve interest rate increase is years out, said Frederick. And investors should learn from those who panicked out of the market in 2008 and missed out on an 11-year bull market, he added.

One potential correction trigger is technical, as he says 2020 has been closely tracking the action in 2009. That year saw three pullbacks — 3.5%, 4.3% and 5.6% in the last few months of 2009 — as his chart shows:

A “substantial pullback in earnings could also trigger a pullback,” he said, noting that second-quarter S&P 500 earnings per share came in far better than expected.

Frederick is watching the coronavirus pandemic as a potential trigger, with schools opening across the country and the potential for a dramatic uptick in the case count spooking markets, while trade issues with China shouldn’t be dismissed, as they also have the power to unhinge markets.

Another stick of dynamite for stocks is continued wrangling over enhanced unemployment benefits in the U.S. “That’s a big issue that needs to be resolved on what they should do to support workers and small business going forward,” said Frederick.

Read: Investors may be betting the wrong way on the U.S. election, says JP Morgan

The market


futures are tearing higher, with Dow

futures up modestly. European stocks

are mixed, with the euro

at a two-year dollar high. Gold

and oil

are up, and Asian stocks were mixed.

The buzz

Tesla’s premarket climb has been slowed by news it will sell up to $5 billion worth of its stock. Also, an analyst said the electric-car maker is “fundamentally overvalued.”

Shares of Zoom

are surging, after the videoconferencing group soundly beat forecasts. Companies paid up for the service.


reportedly ordered 75 million 5G iPhones, and shares are up.

Retailer Walmart

is launching a $98 a year membership program offering fuel discounts and free shipping, to perhaps rival Amazon Prime

An update on manufacturing from U.S. purchasing managers, construction spending and automobile sales are ahead. China delivered stronger-than-expected manufacturing numbers.

President Donald Trump has defended his decision to visit Kenosha, Wis., on Tuesday, and offered up a defense of the teenager who shot two protesters. Democratic rival Joe Biden accused him of making things worse. A shooting in Los Angeles late on Monday has also drawn protesters.

Random reads

“I wish we had more time” — actor Michael B. Jordan’s moving tribute to late co-star Chadwick Boseman.

Belarusian opposition leader says protesters are vanishing.

Don’t miss the Corn Moon.

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